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Wild thing

January 30, 2011

Winter is a special time to see birds that don't usually make Southern California their home. Recently, a red-breasted sapsucker was spotted drilling sap wells on a pine tree at Deukmejian Wilderness Park in Glendale. Usually, these woodpeckers live farther north in the coniferous forests of the Pacific Coast but move south in winter for the milder weather. The sapsucker is the only woodpecker with a vertical stripe down its side. This 7-inch woodpecker has a red head along with red throughout the breast. This specific bird shows a yellow belly and yellow stripes on the back, indicative of being a northern range bird. Usually, you can find them moving up and down their tree, feeding from the sap wells they've drilled or making new ones. Sap and any little bugs caught in the sap make up most of their diet along with seeds and berries. For a photo gallery of this and other birds at Deukmejian Wilderness Park, visit the818now.com/2011/01/25/deukmejian-park-where-the-wild-things-are.

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— Raul Roa

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